Recap: 'Hell's Kitchen,' prayers, tears and good ol’ mum
By April MacIntyre Jul 31, 2007, 6:34 GMT
British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay EPA/Rick Nederstigt
The final three are left to compete for the opportunity of a lifetime. The show opens with the three each in their own way commiserating the departure of popular Julia’s elimination.
A side of Rock we haven’t seen emerges in this episode, he actually becomes human and his bravado and glibness seems to melt away. He and Jen make up, and in a first of several shots we see him shed a real tear.
Challenge time for the next round sees Chef Ramsay cheerfully greet the finalists, and tells the team about his number one mentor, his mum!
Enter Mum Ramsay with a covered casserole in her hands, as Chef explains the details of this challenge: “Homemade to Gourmet."
The three must pick an American classic and retool it for an upscale restaurant. Chef has his mum show off her dish, classic macaroni and cheese, and he displays his covered dish of a gussied up version containing lobster and Parmesan.
Taking the standby comfort foods to another level is the order of the hour, as they are provided with their own randomly selected choices: Bonnie gets Beans and Franks, Jen gets Fried Chicken, and Rock gets Spaghetti and Meatballs.
Rock turns out a trio of spaghetti on a plate, Jen does a roulade of cheese filled chicken breasts and flash fries, cuts at angle for great presentation, and poor Bonnie is stymied by the Franks and Beans, yet comes up with mini Bruschettas with some sort of sliced sausage.
The challenge twist this week is the contestant’s own mothers, unbeknownst to them, arrive on stage to tears from all three. They sit with Chef and must select the winner by tasting all three offerings of the refurbished classics.
The three mums all select Jen’s Fried Chicken Roulade as the winner.
These scenes with the contestants hugging their mothers, and being bucked up to keep persevering were intensely emotional, so much so that when Rock asked his mother to pray for him, and she replied she did, every day, I was bawling like a baby.
Tears dried, the winner Jen and her mom are off to a fabulous lunch with Chef and his own mum, as Chef gives great encouragement to Jen and she really seems to be believing she can take the prize.
Afterwards, Chef peels 1000 buck for her to go shopping with mom, and she wipes out a gourmet cooking supply store with all sorts of cool pans, forms, and tools for the kitchen.
Back at the dorm, whether it was scripted or organic the chemistry between Bonnie and Rock emerged as the two figured each other out and Rock lightened up and accepted her superficial nattering, letting it all roll off his back.
They were assigned to spic and span the dorms. Bonnie complains constantly she’s hungry, she has no energy, and Rock doesn’t miss a beat: “Maybe if you stopped talking you’d have more energy.”
Dinner service is upon them and each of the contestants each have a turn at the “Pass” as Ramsay prepares each of them to call the orders and inspect the plates before they are served to the tables.
Sounds easy, but it isn’t. First, Chef gives them a test run to put their Ramsay “game face” on, playing a role reversal exercise to see how they chew out a sous chef who goofs an order.
Little Agoura Hills Bonnie brings her “A” game, as she read him the riot act first timeout and impresses Chef. Jen and Rock both need prompting and do-over.
Then dinner service brings Jen up first for the point position in expediting the dishes, and Ramsay has one sous chef deliberately sabotage a dish omitting crab from a pasta selection that is placed on the counter for service.
Jen doesn’t catch it, and makes up with the rest of her time at the helm of the kitchen. Then Bonnie seems disorganized in her order calling but cleans up in catching the goofs and Rock seems slow but he does a good job too finding the flawed dish.
No one was called “donkey” and the service, according to Chef, was the best they have had yet. “Not perfect” says Chef, who is now saddled with the onerous task of picking the contestant who must leave.
Ramsay calls them to the kitchen after a night of soul searching and more tears, and asks each contestant why they should be the winner of Hell’s Kitchen.
Bonnie tells Chef she is a team player, Jen “lives for food” and says the kitchen is her home, and Rock says he has grown a lot (he has) and is a leader.
In the most torturous series of commercials and promo cut-aways, poor Rock is faked out by Chef as he says Rock “must go… to the finale!”
Rock is in tears over this. The girls are left, and Jen is the one who must leave Hell’s Kitchen, and damned near everyone including Chef is crying now, as the producers cobbled together a sweet B-Roll sayonara celebrating the small town girl who never had been to Vegas.
The show next week will pit Bonnie against Rock, and big surprises wait for the finale.